Champs: Soccer team wins MVAC with tie
Last modified: Oct. 25, 2012
In a county where football has long reigned supreme, it is the Ashe County men's soccer team that has emerged as the high school's most recent title contender.
The Huskies clinched at least a share of the Mountain Valley Conference regular season championship Monday evening by tying the Forbush Falcons 2-2 in West Jefferson.
“It may have been a tie, but it came out to be a win for us,” said Ashe Coach Wesley Rousseau. “This was our biggest game in program history and our first conference championship.”
Forbush had one loss in conference action prior to the contest, and gives Ashe County full control of first place in the league, which has long been heralded as one of the premier soccer conferences in the state.
The Falcons only other loss came earlier in the season against Ashe in East Bend.
The Huskies improved to 19-1-1 and have not lost a match since week one of the season against the Watauga High Pioneers.
Ashe will cap off the regular season on Thursday night against the East Wilkes Cardinals for bragging rights to an outright championship.
In a game that ended with the Huskies' faithful storming the field in jubilation following the overtime win, the conference title hung in uncertainty for much of the contest.
The Huskies fell behind early with a Forbush goal at the 14-minute mark, which was followed by another devastating blow at the 53rd minute in the second half when another Falcons' shot found the back of the net.
“We were tight at the beginning because of the emotions of the situation and the intensity of the crowd,” said Rousseau. “It was a different kind of atmosphere. We wouldn't normally give up those types of goals.”
Ashe County had a chance to tie the match in the closing minutes of the first half with a couple of near misses by Cesar Ruiz.
Down two goals with less than 15 minutes left in the match, it appeared that the Falcons would snap Ashe County's massive 19-game winning streak.
With their classmates cheering them on from the nearby student section, which came to resemble such assembles one may see at a basketball game than soccer match, Ashe county rallied in the final minutes to force overtime.
Jamie Wever brought the Huskies within a goal at the 73rd minute as he was able to outmaneuver a Falcons' defender and fire the ball past the goalie.
Ashe tied the match six minutes later when Ruiz found lone goal of the game that had eluded him throughout the match.
The tying goal sent Ashe County's fans, which were packed tight in the soccer stadium's lone set of bleachers, screaming with excitement as overtime drew near.
“We were lucky enough to persevere and put two in during a tough situation to force overtime,” said Rousseau.
Neither team was able to find the separation it needed in the extra period to steal the win, but by tying the game, which had proved no small feat for the Huskies, Ashe County had won something more elusive: the program's first conference title.
“We got a really good senior class that has been very vocal and strong in their leadership,” said Rousseau. “We have a lot of individual ability at the younger level.
Our sophomores and juniors have meshed and really bought into that team concept. That has really shown in our success.”